Teaching in Alabama: How to Get to the Top of the Class
Alabama’s education system is a “disaster” for students, teachers, and parents, according to a new report from the nonprofit research group ALEC.
The report, titled Teaching in Alabamias Classrooms: A Tale of Two Ages, details the shortcomings of the state’s system of education, with the results of the latest state budget and a study of the Alabama curriculum released by the Alabama Department of Education.
The study, conducted by the think tank American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), finds that while Alabama’s school system has been “faster, smarter, and more effective” in recent years, the state still suffers from “weak accountability and poor instructional outcomes.”
The report cites a number of deficiencies that the report says make Alabama “an untrustworthy predictor” of the results that educators want.
According to the report, “A failure to address these issues may have limited the educational outcomes of the students in Alabama and has created a serious public health problem in the state.”
Alabamas budget, according the report and other reports, has slashed funding to the state education system by a whopping 35 percent.
The budget is the largest cut to the Alabama public education system in decades, and it comes as the state continues to struggle with a severe school dropout rate and a higher percentage of students attending charter schools.
The ALEC report states that education in Alabama is “among the worst in the nation,” with “fewer than one in 10 students enrolled in public schools.”
The Alabama Education Association also found in its annual report that Alabama’s budget has been a “fiasco” in the past few years, with “state funding has fallen by more than $300 million, with $130 million spent on education alone.”
The ALEC study, however, found that while there were problems in the years prior to the 2016 state budget, they were not as severe.
The Alabama budget was a “major disappointment” compared to other states in the U.S., with $16 billion cut to public schools and an additional $18 billion in cuts to public services.
“Alabama’s public education budget has also failed to meet the needs of students, parents, teachers and communities,” the report states.
“Instead of focusing on improving the quality of instruction and teacher training, Alabama has invested more time and resources into creating ineffective, underfunded, ineffective classrooms and other programs that have not met the needs and goals of our students.”
Alaskans teachers union, the National Education Association (NEA), was one of the first to voice concerns about the state of Alabama’s public schools.
“We’re disappointed in the report,” said NEA President and CEO, Sheryl Sandberg, in a statement.
“The report shows the Alabama education system has serious issues with its curriculum, and the state is moving in the wrong direction.
The state needs to work on fixing these issues.”
The ALEA study also notes that there is “no credible evidence that the state can meet its educational goals.”
In an emailed statement, Sandberg said, “We know that if we are serious about improving our public schools, we must put money toward the development of the best teachers, which are the most effective and have the most success.
Unfortunately, the budget is focused on raising teacher salaries and salaries at the top, and teachers are paid less than in other states.
We are not alone in our concerns about Alabama’s schools.”
Education is critical to Alabama’s economy and its state’s reputation as a “model” state, according Sandberg.
“For decades, the ALA has fought to ensure that our state is a model for other states, and that the best people and schools are not left behind,” Sandberg added.
The ALDA’s statement continued, “Alabama needs to create more opportunities for students and parents to pursue their dreams.
The public education reform agenda has been hijacked by politicians and teachers unions who don’t want to reform our public education.
We need a more responsive, innovative approach that puts the needs, safety, and well-being of our children ahead of political expediency.”
According to ALEC, the Alabama state budget includes a $300 billion spending plan to “reform education in the State of Alabama,” including a proposed $1.8 billion “reforming the public school budget,” $30 million to “support teachers, principals, and staff in the delivery of educational materials,” and $150 million for a “statewide strategic plan for teaching and learning in the classroom.”
ALEA also noted that “the state budget is already at risk of failing to meet all its education goals, because of inadequate spending and funding.”
“The state budget could well fail to meet its goals if we don’t act to protect the most vulnerable students, families, and communities in our state,” ALEC stated.